Meet the ...
Jim Mora Space Needlers, starring T.J. WhosYoMama on air guitar and T.J. Duckett on drums. Mora succeeds Mike Holmgren after his decade-long reign and vows to change some things. That includes ramping up the rushing attack and attacking on defense. But Mora's goal is easier stated than accomplished short-term, and when looking at this roster from a fantasy perspective, the more enticing options seem to be in the passing game.
Julius Jones cuts to the inside, trying to prove that preconception wrong. I'm banking he can do it. Jones already "broke out" years ago when he topped 1,000 yards for Dallas, so this is more of a resurgence pick. Although he's received under 200 carries in back-to-back seasons, expect a significant uptick in his workload this year. New offensive coordinator Greg Knapp is installing the quick-hitting zone-blocking scheme that's been successful for him throughout his NFL coaching career. In every season he's been a coordinator, Knapp's offense has finished in the top 10 in the league in rushing. So when he yells "One cut and go!," it's Jones who must be the key to making it work.
"It fits perfectly with my style of running," Jones told AP writer Gregg Bell. "I've dropped a lot of weight in order to be quick and fast and make this one cut and get downhill." The 27-year-old rusher comes into the new season 10 pounds lighter, claiming it's the lightest he's been since his rookie year.
The touchdown total might be meager again, especially with Duckett taking the short-yardage carries, but Jones should be an absolute steal considering where he's being drafted. He went in the 10th round in our recent mock draft with Fantasy Football Cafe.
John Carlson is receiving some hype after a very successful rookie season. But after totaling 627 yards on 55 receptions in 2008, I just don't see how much higher his ceiling can be this year. Part of the reason he became such a go-to target was the lack of quality receiving options in Seattle. This season, T.J. Houshmandzadeh is aboard along with speedy rookie Deon Butler, and Nate Burleson appears to be doing surprisingly well in his recovery from knee surgery.
With the Seahawks spreading the ball around, fantasy owners could be disappointed if they rely on Carlson as their every-week tight end. Out of the sleeper TE group, I'd prefer someone like Dustin Keller, who the Jets will rely on heavily due to a lack of receiving threats.
The Depth Chart
QB1 - Matt Hasselbeck
QB2 - Seneca Wallace
RB1 - Julius Jones
RB2 - T.J. Duckett
RB3 - Justin Forsett
WR1 - Nate Burleson
WR2 - T.J. Houshmandzadeh
WR3 - Deon Butler
WR4 - Deion Branch
TE - John Carlson
K - Olindo Mare
Despite the additions of rookie linebacker Aaron Curry and defensive tackle Cory Redding, this unit also took substantial hits by losing Julian Peterson in the Redding deal and Rocky Bernard via free agency. The Seahawks finished near the bottom of the league last season with 24.5 points allowed per game and forcing turnovers was not a strong point (only nine interceptions). They won't be worth owning in 12-team leagues, but through the benefit of being an NFC West team, you'll see them with fine matchups along the way. Overall, they'll be a solid plug-and-play option.
• From fuming at those who believe he's just an underneath route-runner to boycotting Madden 10 because of a poor rating, it appears Housh has a big chip on his shoulder. Going from 12 touchdowns to only four last year will do that to you ... or just being a member of that putrid Bengals offense. While I don't think he'll reach double-digit touchdowns, he should bounce back and be worthy of your WR2 slot.
• Without a doubt, the biggest bust of the Seahawks' 2008 season was Hasselbeck. After missing nine games with a bulging disc in his back, the 33-year-old quarterback tackled a rigorous offseason regimen which included swimming in the Columbia River. Now healthy and eight pounds slimmer, Hasselbeck could be a fine bargain as QB2 capable of playing like a QB1 certain weeks. He's currently being drafted in the 12th round or later.
• Nate Burleson has been one of the highlights of training camp. Just 10 months removed from major reconstructive knee surgery, Burleson has shown unexpected explosiveness. He's not worth drafting in shallow leagues, but keep an eye on how involved he is in the passing game early on. Remember that he scored 11 total touchdowns two seasons ago.
• Versatile running back Justin Forsett could carve out a sizable role, especially if Jones gets banged up at any point. Keep him on the radar in deep leagues.
• As far as kickers go, Mare was underrated last year. He reached the 100-point mark for the third time in his last four seasons and notched a 88.9% completion rate. Solid last-round snag.